the trouble with time limits

Every election, and whenever the subject comes up in between elections, there is a big
“thing” about term limits.

“Throw ’em all out…ALL of them.”      This seems like a good idea…on the face of it…except that it would almost always be a disaster.     This point of view is often described as “clear the swamp.”      I like my clichés to have literal meaning, so when someone says that I picture a real swamp, with hanging moss, fragrant jungle flowers, glass-bottomed tour boats, and alligators sunning themselves in mis-leading innocence.    Yeah, this is all very picturesque.    The thing to “clear out” of the actual swamp/jungle, presumeably is the alligators, and other creatures that will eat you if they get a chance.   In the metaphorical  swamp, to which the plotters and pundits refer,… is of course Washington D.C.   The best allusions may be to the alligators, standing in for elected members of Congress.     (No aspersions cast on the alligators.)

Depending on the speaker, there is usually no consensus of exactly WHOM to throw out.     The “commenters” are not very specific either….they mostly just advocate getting rid of “ALL of them,” and starting over with an all-new brand-spanking lot of Congress people and their respective entourages.

“Don’t throw out MY Congresspeople though!”    Ah-ha, therein lies the rub…the Dems want their own representatives, and Republicans back theirs (most of the time…moreorless.)     That could be called the “Your Rep is a crook…Mine isn’t” theory of political adequacy.

Yes, I DO have an allegorical illustration for my point…which is that it is basically impossible to start over completely, from scratch, at a grass-roots level.     Once…back in the proverbial day…a would-be entrepreneur presented to our City Council a plan to open a new restaurant.    He said he intended to hire ALL NEW staff—new cooks, new waitresses/waiters, now known as “Servers.”      New hostesses, new managers, new bartender…even new dishwasher/busboys.     By “new” was meant workers who had NO experience in any of the positions.   They would be trained “to order” by the owner, in his own expectations for how to do their jobs.    In other words, no one would have even a clue of what they were supposed to do.    Needless to say, if the restaurant ever had materialized as planned it could have been named “The Fiasco Diner.”

That’s what would happen in Washington if there was a law that all new politicians had to be completely inexperienced.    Wow!     As if the atmosphere there is not already terrifying!     Actually the current experiment in Foggy Bottom threatens to loom menacingly as The PEOTUS seems to be introducing a concept of “let’s just see what happens!”     Maybe its a principle of “…keeping one’s friends close and enemies closer.”

Here’s a scary one: “let’s call up all our enemies and suggest we all play nice.”

 

Rules For Commenters…or Think First!

There should be a rule
on commenting protocol
requiring at least
(if not a working knowledge)
mini-common sense.

Every school age child
with a mite’s  intelligence
should have learned restraint
in matters of opinion…
at least a few facts.

No one should ever
consider as an expert
smart snappy comments…
an internet free-for-all
sans supervision.

Our Rule Number One:
Start out with a set of clues,
a few question marks,
a reasonably open-mind
and process of thought.

For Rule Number Two,
should be needless to expound,
an unspoken rule–
have proof, or at least
citations of information.

Who, what, when, where, why
How the commenter knows,
…at least Who Said So?
citation of source
and last—Who Cares?

© Sometimes, 2016

 

LAST DAY OF SUMMER

Friday was beautiful…75 degrees F.       On Saturday the cold and snow came in!   The photos may serve as reminders of the Summer of 2016.   (as of November 18-19, 2016)

 

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Glorious Red Maple, w/evergreen

 

 

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Long view

 

 

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Assortment of Leaves at My Place

 

 

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Felix and Mawkin talkin’ about the weather

 

 

 

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Last of the Daisies

 

 

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A blue-eyed Daisy.

 

 

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Eastern Path into the Tree Garden

 

 

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Rock in the Leaves 

 

 

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Center Path

 

 

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Heading North-East

 

 

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Clown Shadow 

 

 

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Center Fork

 

 

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Bittersweet House

 

 

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Mid Garden Maple

 

 

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Shadowy Intrigue

 

 

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Ring-a-thing, with Shadow

 

 

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Twirly

 

 

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Rock of Ages 

 

 

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Survivors!

 

 

 

 

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Close-up  Surprise

 

 

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Chair in Shadows

 

 

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Late-bloomers Peek Out

 

 

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Not only late, but protected by the chair because the plants grew among the maze-stones.

 

 

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Here We Are!

 

Re-discovering Classics of Literature

My reference to the Sword of Damocles, in a poem I posted a few days ago, has served to jog my poor over-loaded brain.   I always think of the human brain as a vast library-like cavern, perhaps not unlike the wondrous university libraries, such as those at Oberlin College, and the Bierce Library at the University of Akron, which are two of the libraries where I did research as a doctoral student twenty years ago.        Especially etched into my brain cells were the upper floor reaches of the great libraries which during the summer months when they were not as crowded, and one could spend hours without encountering any other scholars.    There is my idea of Heaven…being alone in the stacks at a borrowed carrel, surrounded by rows and rows of shelves, laden with books.

Above and beyond the inherent treasure of information and knowledge of the ages is the simple fact of being one with the company of books…manuscripts, journals, atlases, writings in multiple languages.     The hallowed halls of musty, dusty volumes are in themselves of unestimable value in the rivers and mountains and mines of the books that are the records of the human ages and dreams of the future.

OK, I admit it…there are easier ways to tap into the motherlodes of learning—namely: computers.   Yeah, been there, done that too!   I love computers.    I adore the ease of research in a vast machine.    Before I bought my first computer,  I studied the computer magazines, and bothered people that I knew who were already “computer-literate.”   There were not many.   Even the major newspaper that I worked for back then, in the mid-1980s, had not yet made the transition to computerization.      More than one Radio Shack salesperson thought I was strange…my criteria for actually buying a computer was that it have the capability of holding “every book and media from the New York Public Library” available for users.   I had no idea that would really be possible within a very few years.  It was called the “Information Highway” before it was known as “The Internet.”

Any way, as I was saying about the Sword of Damacles…when the allusion popped into my head as I toyed with writing a poem, after a several-week slump during which I was sure I would never write poetry again.     Sure, I can always write miscellaneous posts about topics as varied as politics and attempts at humor.

Thinking about the Classics always appeals to nooks and crannies of my brain, in which are tucked away and filed in huge vessels of information, where all of the myriads of things that have been encountered and put away for “another day” when I had more time.    Thus was my complicated thought-train set into locomotion, chugging off into a darkened passage where I keep forgotten and fascinating scraps under a make-believe heading — FOR SOME DAY.

So ah-ha!   with my theoretical ticket to side-tracks of  possible literary points of interest peaked at the prompt phrase: “Sword of Damocles…” which found its way into an impromptu poem unstopping the clogged…or cluttered scraps of esoteric longing to venture into the Classical collections of ancient tomes and leather-bound texts which may or may not have been…shall I say hidden?   delayed?   saved as best for last?… a related reference to another masterpiece springing forth from my foggy brain.

Yes—after a bit of ponderance it came to me: The Pit and the Pendulum.    I vaguely recall the circumstances of Edgar Allen Poe’s grim and gruesome tale of madness and despair, of a poor prisoner sentenced to deal with the very pits of Hell.        The images and illusions that came to mind are rather allegories, or tales of tales which I have read over my lifetime (since I learned to read) and have become part of my personal library of versions of famous literature.

Poe’s style had long fascinated, especially in the days of my somewhat dreamy-eyed and faux-sophisticated youth.      The Raven, maybe Edgar Allen Poe’s best known work…at least among students such as my younger self…had captured my imagination.    I so enjoyed the poem that I undertook the copying—in flowing cursive handwriting, accomplished with a fountain pen, with real ink—into one of the plain and homely brown notebooks that I so enjoyed.   I have it to this day.

Had I actually read The Pit and the Pendulum, in it’s entirety, with due consideration and concentration…tripping and gnashing over Poe’s lightly punctuated and technically worded nineteenth century prose…I dare say I would not have really understood it.     For one thing, although Poe states in his introduction to The Pit…that his torturers are members of the Spanish Inquisition….the not-so-Holy-Inquisition.

That dreaded institution was of course studied, or at least alluded to in high school History classes, but I…for whatever reason…did not really make an impression on me one way or another.    I didn’t care—and did not GET IT then.      I admit that at age nineteen I was much more of a romantic than a scholar.      So several decades later  I finally got around to my higher education, and in that capacity become intrigued with the discovery, development, destruction, and History of Latin America—which had a LOT to do with Spain, and Mexico, and the Holy Inquisition.  In the New World the Inquisition methods were somewhat limited, compared with back in Spain and environs…much of the efforts of the institution were directed toward members of the clegy, for various crimes including heresy and seduction in the confessional.

 

 

 

 

Welcome back…Muse

suddenly the dam holding my attempts at poetry in abeyance has broken.  Praise be!   This was an especially long slump, and it probably won’t be my last, but I’m SO glad its over.   I have not even had my camera out except for ebay work—which means no autumn trees, no flowers, not even any cat pictures.

Here’s one I wrote a while back…just waiting for the light of day.

 

My Muse has left me
she’s taking a break,
a well-deserved furlough
for both of our sakes.

She works night and day,
inspires me and prompts
with clever ideas
and turns of phrases.

Without her I stumble
stammer, or mumble
incoherent turns
of uninspired chatter.

poignant and pointed
and perfectly phrased
trite and trivial
droll or drivel…

patronizing or haughty
sometimes a bit naughty
dramatic or dull
inappropriate or inane

flowery prose,  tortured phrases
along side ravings that make me seem crazed
or things that perhaps would be better unsaid—
I’m just so happy when my Muse is not Dead!

© Sometimes, 2016

 

Sword Swinging (a poem, thanks to E)

the sword of Damacles
begins its creaking dissent
amid madness and bitter resentment
the darkening dawn ahead… prescient.

Armaggedon beckoning (to borrow a phrase
from a friendly poet) with skillful ways to praise
using words of beauty…or malaise
born of forethought…not meaning to surprise.

As fear and foreboding take their toll
among the nervous and volatile
the peace and self-confidence wane
as the shadow lengthens  o’er the terrain.

© Sometimes, 2016

whistling in the dark

SOMETIMES

The bad and the sad appear on their own,
evil and hunger cloaked in despair
where resentment and hatred
intrinsic to human nature
will abide and endure.

But Lo!  It is goodness and delight
and bright winking stars, and the moon…
which lighten the paths of the night.
So why, one wonders, are the Joys so illusive?
when all our emotions are inclusive.

©Sometimes,2015

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STILL GOT YOUR SOCKS ON? THIS WILL SCARE THE BEJEEZUS OUT OF MOST ANYONE! (from the Washington Post)

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/president-elect-donald-trump-is-about-to-learn-the-nations-deep-secrets/2016/11/12/8bf9bc40-a847-11e6-8fc0-7be8f848c492_story.html?wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1

 

OK….I admit it…I’m scared!

There are people that I know very well, family members, friends, acquaintenaces from various times of my life who snicker or sneer at my fears.    They say I am of the “old school”—the “Cold War era”—afraid of bogies and ghosts of the past, as gifted us from the best selling authors of Spy Fiction.    You know—Tom Clancey et al.

I have been told in so many words that the old Cold War politics are passé.   I have been told, that  being an old woman— one having studied matters of the World, and especially the United States, of which I am an informed citizen and Historian—my views are left over from the bad old days when Russia was not our friend.

In the recent past I have been accused of “hating” my country.    WRONG…as our new president elect would say.    I have always likened this theory of un-Americanism to the case of a loving and devoted Great-Grandmother who accepts and loves all family members the same no matter what they do or how they live…or what they do.        She (ok… I….) love my country but not necessarily everything they do.

“My country right or wrong” was the slogan of a more patriotic time when we the people were psyched up for war, or invasion, or over-throwing sovereign governments, or killing world leaders that we don’t like.

Demonization…a process by which a leader/country/nationality/situation by which the citizenry is often known to fall in with a given idea at a proverbial snap of the fingers by whoever is  in charge.     Pick up the morning paper…or sign onto Yahoo…or flick the radio switch.   Chances are there will be a brand new name of someone that we as citizens need to oppose.   We are expected to absorb and believe in whatever truths and half-truths spew forth from the powers-that-be.

Remember a few years ago when we were all expected to be mad at France—because they declined leaping happily at invading or bombing or otherwise harassing another country?   Sort of a “We are having a War, and you are cordially invited (expected) to participate…or else we will make French Fry jokes and remarks about your manly prowess…”

 

 

 

 

My answer to a question in the Washington Post this morning.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/11/09/how-do-i-explain-this-to-my-children-van-jones-gives-voice-to-the-nightmare-some-are-feeling/?wpisrc=nl_mix&wpmm=1

HERE’S THE THING FOLKS—this is how it works in a society such as ours here in the United States.       There is no need to “apologize” for our system to our children or anyone else.

This is it—this is US, We the People.

We are not a “banana republic,” as the historians and pundits like to call the countries that were literally run by fruit companies…American fruit countries, of course.   This was common in Central American countries back in the last century: massive corporations set up shop in a given country, bought or intimidated the government, and proceeded to recruit the local workers…who really had no other choice of jobs.     At least whacking banana bunches provided opportunities for employment.

Remember the old song by Harry Belafonte?    Here are the lyrics, sung to a calypso beat with a Jamaican accent.       It is one of those cute, entertaining songs that contain a sickening reality.

 

Day-o, day-ay-ay-o
Daylight come and he wan’ go home
Day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day-ay-ay-o
Daylight come and he wan’ go home

Work all night on a drink a’rum
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Stack banana till thee morning come
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Come, Mr. Tally Mon, tally me banana
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)

Come, Mr. Tally Mon, tally me banana
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
It’s six foot, seven foot, eight foot, BUNCH!
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot, BUNCH!
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)

Day, he say day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
A beautiful bunch a’ripe banana
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)

Hide thee deadly black tarantula
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
It’s six foot, seven foot, eight foot, BUNCH!
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot, BUNCH!
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)

Day, he say day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Come, Mr. Tally Mon, tally me banana
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)

Come, Mr. Tally Mon, tally me banana
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Day-o, day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)

Songwriters: IRVING BURGIE, WILLIAM ATTAWAY
© Alfred, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group
For non-commercial use only.
Data from: LyricFind

 

SO, enough of that — BACK TO THE BLOG POST, and the question “what do we tell our kids?”

  1.  The USA is a nation governed by laws.
  2.  Government OF the People, By the People, and FOR the People.
  3.  “WE” are the People—I am a person, the reader here is a person, etc.
  4.   We all—citizens—get to vote.
  5.    We have represenatives at various levels, which is a whole other story—and  since   this isn’t a History or Government course per se we won’t go into that.
  6.   On election day we go to the polls (or absentee ballot, whatever…) and VOTE for our choice of candidates.      YOU vote for your choice; I vote for my choice.
  7.  After the votes are cast, they are counted.
  8.  The winner is declared.
  9.   We all cheer…or not.      If MY guy gets more votes than YOUR guy, I cheer!

10.   If your guy wins…well….

SO HERE COMES THE THING!   The Point:

Once the voting is over and the votes are counted, WE are faced with a situation whereby we have a candidate who has become an Elected Official.

Except in special circumstances, which won’t be covered here, once the election is over and the winner declared—that’s it.

Yes, I’m talking about Donald Trump—President Elect Donald Trump.

HE WON…

SO the question becomes—IF I don’t like the outcome—-What do I tell my kids?

…that this is how our system works

…we don’t throw stuff, destroy anything,  or go all berserk and get ourselves arrested or … worse …

…we just sit back and say “OK, Let’s see what he’s Got.”

…recognize that “WE” the People have spoken.    OK, so we can grumble that it was more accurately “THEY” the Other People.   That is beside the point, which is that we must abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the majority of our fellow citizens.

…or, in the vernacular “shut up and suck it up.”

 

 

 

 

Contemplating the Overhead

Who has never stared at a ceiling,
stark and unobtrusive, high above.
Waiting on the examination table,
A pattern of plaster, geometric or concentric
or randomness in tile squares…
in the eye unique to the beholder:
Faces and road maps, decorative design..

Dozing off while waiting for
examination of unseen mysteries,
matters of distracted concern
existing anonymously within
a rounded belly, something enlarged,
a broken bone peeking shyly out
to see air and light… foreign and out-of-place.

To contemplate anomalies without purpose,
pictures not there—right before our eyes.
Improbable, impossible creatures,
staring down on the same…unknown,
unrecognized, without meaning…
open for inspection under the sheet
or the silly inadequate gown.

The very distraction of these glyphs
on the ceiling have reason after all—
to occupy and entertain
a mind with nothing else to do
but wait and wonder, as patterns emerge
a mundane excursion into the
feeling that this may be— The Truth After All..

© Sometimes, 2016

 

Keeping Score and Counting Votes

SOMETIMES

Once upon a time I believed that there was NO WAY an election could be “fixed” in the USA.   As a student of Latin American Studies I understand that “those other countries” were crooked, and thus their elections could be rigged.  When a computer accidentally shuts down for four days in, say, Mexico…just sayin’… and during the shut-down the candidate who was losing the election miraculously pulls ahead….   WELL, everybody knew that was fraudulent…but when it comes to those other countries—well DUH!!!   But here at home?  Where our electoral system is honest as the day is long and absolutely without loop-holes that could “steal” an election. … in Ohio, or Florida?  Of course not.

Ah, everybody knows how THAT all played out.   No sense in going over it again, as the voters just don’t care.  They don’t want to hear about it.  Well, let me qualify that, of course “everybody” is…

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Why we vote the way we do

SOMETIMES

I have long entertained some theories about elections, and how and why people vote the way they do.

Factional Voting: On any given issue, from the most basic township trustee election to the Big One…voting for POTUS.    Take for instance a local Council Representative…there are three factions in play:  FOR, AGAINST, EITHER/OR.    In a nutshell…supporters of a candidate, enemies of his or hers, and the vast pool of voters who don’t know…don’t care…or make it up on election night.

FOR a candidate… close friends, true supporters who know what is going on and are informed voters, and enemies of the opposition candidate.

AGAINST….people that don’t like the candidate, disagree with the issue, hold strong but informed reasons for being opposed.

EITHER/OR… voters who never heard of any of the candidates…just pick one from the list.  Know them both and are ambivalent about them, and those who just don’t care.

There…

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Who said Girls are Not Good at Math?

SOMETIMES

One of the things I always wanted to understand is the wonders of Math.

My algebra teacher said “try, try again, if at first you fail.
An understatement…like trying to teach Math to a whale.

Here is a poem I’ve penned (so to speak) which conveys the point I am trying to make for no reason than thanks from those fortunate old lads and lasses that never had ME in their math classes.

Is it true what they said, that girls don’t know math?

There was an old lady named Madge,

who didn’t get Math as a girl

as hard as she tried, the more her brain fried.

I’ll get this, I will,

if its the last thing I do, she said as she studied

and figured

in spite of the glaze on her eyes.

Don’t confuse me with squares and axioms or paradigms

paradoxes, place holders, equations or boxes.

Then…

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